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Phil Richerme | CERN | Switzerland

View Blog | Read Bio

Introductions

Hello! I’m Phil, a grad student working at CERN, and I’m new to Quantum Diaries. In truth, I’m new to blogging as well; however, I love talking about physics, sharing my thoughts, and hopefully giving people something new to think about.

Now that I’ve introduced myself, I’d like to introduce the ATRAP experiment. ATRAP has been at CERN for over 20 years now, working on experiments with antihydrogen – the simplest atom made completely from antimatter (an antiproton nucleus orbited by a positron). The long-term goal has remained the same: trap large numbers of antihydrogen atoms, measure their energy levels, and compare to (matter) hydrogen. This would allow us to very precisely test the CPT theorem, which predicts identical agreement between the two. Any difference in the energy levels of hydrogen and antihydrogen would violate CPT (a fairly central theorem in physics), and could only be explained by new physics beyond the standard model.

We’re not the typical CERN experiment. For one, our collaboration has orders of magnitude fewer people than the big CERN groups (there were 17 co-authors on our last paper). Also, unlike most CERN experiments, we’re trying hard to lower the energy of our particles, so that they may be more easily trapped. However, no special treatment here – we get the “standard-issue” CERN building, just like everyone else:

CERN Building 193

The entrance to the Antiproton Decelerator

AD hall

Inside the antiproton decelerator

We live at the Antiproton Decelerator (AD), which takes an injected antiproton beam and reduces the energy by a factor of ~1000, to 5 MeV. The AD is unique; other places in the world produce antiprotons, but CERN is the only place that slows them down to low enough energy for trapping. If we want to make trappable antihydrogen, we had better start with trappable antiprotons!

AD Blackboard

Chalkboard in the AD. Might as well get the Dan Brown references out of the way now...

In the days and weeks ahead I’ll go much more into detail about the experiment – for now, I’ll leave off with a picture of what our experiment looks like, complete with high-precision tape, zip-ties, and aluminum foil:

BTRAP

Experimental apparatus, surrounded by a large magnet and detector systems.

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  • dequantizer

    very challenging and wishfully rewarding 2 declerate for purpose of trapping antiprotons 2 constitute (generate) antiH with <> positron. Concept of “Orbiting” positrons or electrons has long been shown 2 violate physical laws and liquifies the standard model. Going forward with your rewarding antiH exploration, think of +tron or anti-e within your antiH matter as a charged fluid-plasma continuum boundary layer of minimal matter density infinitesimally connected to and surrounding a maximum ultra-high density fluid-plasma continuum layer: “proton-nucleon” layer. scientists have not been able 2 TRAP or DETECT any particles inside their mother atoms, but only when outside and FREED. No magnificating instrument was able 2 see e, p, n, etc particles inside, and that is why Heisenberg’s uncertainty is famous, because it convinces you of their inexistence inside mothering atoms or anti-atoms. Einstein’s “GOD does not play dice with nature” eliminates any probability density options, unknown orbital trajectories, etc… If you imagineer these concepts, it will be much easier for you 2 explore antiH characteristics. Partcles do not dwell inside H-atom or anti-H matter, and are only formed on escape under surrounding fields from H or anti-H matter.
    all the best

  • http://coraifeartaigh.wordpress.com Cormac

    great post, lovely and succinct – really enjoyed it

  • Steve

    i agree with cormac. please keep the posts coming, phil! -steve